Mitsubishi ASX 2013: Road Test – Car Reviews, News & Advice – CarPoint Australia

2 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi ASX 2013: Road Test – Car Reviews, News & Advice – CarPoint Australia

 

Mitsubishi ASX

2013: Road Test

Mitsubishi ASX 4WD Aspire 2.2L DiD

Road Test

Price Guide (recommended price before statutory delivery charges): $36,490

Options fitted to test car (not included in above price): N/A

Crash rating: Five-star ANCAP)

Fuel: Diesel

Claimed fuel economy (L/100km): 5.8

CO2 emissions (g/km): 168

Mitsubishi’s ASX is the fourth best-selling compact SUV in Australia, trailing only the Hyundai ix35, Nissan Dualis and Subaru XV. So it’s clear buyers like the combination of a practical, tall-riding body and family hatch dimensions.

But it says something about the competitiveness of the segment (19 entries at last count!) that not long after introducing a new 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine to the line-up, Mitsubishi announced further 2014 year upgrades for the ASX range.

In the case of the top-spec 2.2-litre Aspire variant, that means an additional roof rack, panoramic sunroof, and 7.0-inch touchscreen, included as standard.

The 2014 ASX range starts at $24,990 for the petrol 2WD manual model, but you’ll need to fork out another $11,500 for the ‘full fruit’ Aspire ASX with diesel engine, 4WD and automatic transmission, tested here.

Considering you can buy a similarly-equipped version of the ASX’s bigger Outlander brother with the same engine for not a lot more, $36,490 seems steep for a ‘luxury’ version of what is essentially a cut-price family runabout.

However, you do get plenty for your money, as evidenced by a quick scan of the spec sheet.

As well as front fog lights with chrome bezels, a chrome exhaust tip and privacy glass, the range-topping Aspire ASX now boasts reversing sensors and reversing camera, seven airbags, an upgraded audio system with Bluetooth, leather upholstery, climate control, keyless entry/start, rain-sensing wipers, auto-on/off headlights, an LED ambient lighting strip for the sunroof and heated front seats with electric adjustment for the driver’s seat.

It’s a shame then some other aspects of the ASX lack similar sparkle, although the new turbo-diesel, which has 60Nm more torque than the old 1.8-litre engine, certainly adds some valuable grunt to the line-up.

For 2014, Mitsubishi claims to have reduced NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels in the cabin, as well as suspension ride quality, but it’s obvious both still require further work.

While the larger, 110kW/360Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine gives the ASX added zing from the lights, engine noise especially at higher revs intrudes noticeably into the cabin, to the point where I was often reaching for the radio volume button.

Also disturbing the peace in our test car was an annoying, drivetrain-like whine when accelerating from standstill; some turbo ‘whistle’ at higher revs, excessive tyre rumble as well as the odd bang and crash as the suspension struggled with potholes and the like.

While tolerable, the various, extraneous noises weren’t befitting a vehicle with a $35,000-plus pricetag. The tinny interior feel also extended to the audio system, with excessive vibrations at times coming from one of the door speakers.

Despite some diesel clatter, and the $3000 premium over the petrol engine, the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel with six-speed auto is arguably the pick of the powertrains, which also includes a 110kW/197Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine.

Combining smoothly with the auto transmission, the oiler delivered a strong, linear surge across the rev range as well as relaxed performance around town, with enough grunt in the wet or dry to spin the front wheels in lower gears.

However, when the roads turned very wet and slippery, sanity was restored by pressing a button to transfer to AWD Auto, which shuttles drive rearward when slip is detected. A 50:50 Lock mode for gravel or mud, combined with 180mm ground clearance (on diesel models) also makes the ASX a safe bet on light-duty offroad tracks.

The ASX points and corners as well as you’d expect, despite rubbery steering, with good grip from the Dunlop-clad 17-inch wheels and decent brakes. Apart from squeezing into cramped parking spots, it felt most at home out on smooth, open freeways, lazily revving around 1700rpm in sixth at 100km/h with just a hint of tyre and wind noise.

Average fuel economy hovered around 8.0L/100km, according to the trip computer, but to minimise fuel use the transmission tends to choose the highest gear possible around town, which sometimes results in the engine laboring at around 1000rpm. This is when the steering wheel paddle shifters come in handy, easily swapping cogs to keep the engine on the boil in cut-and-thrust traffic.

The Aspire-trimmed ASX retains a fairly bland, plasticky interior, with some leather on the seats, centre console and steering wheel, to lift the mood. The highlight is undoubtedly the massive electric sunroof, which extends all the way to the rear seats and gives the SUV an airy, convertible feel when open.

Otherwise the compact layout provides a good job of accommodating a small family and some of its stuff, although you wouldn’t want too many over-sized teenage boys in the back seat with limited headroom. There’s a good assortment of small storage areas including a reasonable-sized boot with two handy storage ‘buckets’ on each side.

With the ASX aimed primarily at budget buyers, and diesel variants only available with 4WD and auto transmission — and starting from $31,990 — it’s likely the cheaper front-drive, petrol-powered variants will remain most popular with buyers.

However, if you’re looking for a value-for-money family runabout with frugal, diesel engine performance, then the Aspire diesel 4WD ASX could be just the thing.

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